Whether you’re stocking your first place or planning for your first off-campus apartment, these are the easily overlooked things you need for your first apartment to create a place that feels like home.

By Lauren Phillips
August 16, 2018
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Everyone has an opinion on the things you need for your first apartment. One person will say you need a rug for every inch of floor space, while another will say you can’t move in until you have a full set of cutlery. At the end of the day, though, you’re the one who has to pick out the things you need for your first apartment—and those items can make all the difference in turning your apartment into your home.

You already know the basics: mattress, sheets, plates, maybe even some pots and pans. Once those essentials are taken care of, there are tons of things you need for your first apartment that you may not think of–especially in the rush of moving, unpacking, and filling your new space. But these will make such a difference in your first apartment that you won’t believe you ever lived without them.

#1: A Coffee Maker

Why should you get a coffeemaker when there are coffee shops everywhere? Because coffee costs money, and you can make your own at home at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, you don’t even have to get dressed to get your morning cup of joe. (Of course, if you manage to survive without coffee, we salute you; you can skip this section.)

Coffee makers don’t have to cost a lot, either—the Primula Cold Brew Coffee System costs just $30. (To buy: $30; crateandbarrel.com.) Latte addicts can splurge on the Keurig K-Café, which has a milk frother attachment. (To buy: $180; amazon.com.) Even at the higher price-point, you’ll get your money’s worth within two months.

#2: A Clothes Steamer

If you’re moving into your first apartment, you’re probably starting your first job, too. That means it’s time to save the sweats for the weekend and put on a polished front during the workweek, which calls for wrinkle-free attire. You could go old-school with an iron and ironing board, sure, but clothes steamers do everything an iron can and more, and they take up half the space. This one is travel-sized and weighs only a pound. (To buy: PurSteam Elite, $20; amazon.com.)

#3: A Powerful Vacuum

Everyone needs a good vacuum. Period. Even if you’re bald and have no pets, you need a powerful vacuum to clean up the dust, dirt, crumbs, and other debris that collect on rugs and floors. People with long hair and pet owners doubly need good vacuums, particularly those capable of picking up fallen hair and fur. The perennially popular iRobot Roomba will clean while you’re gone, so keeping your first apartment spotless is a little less daunting. (To buy: $230; amazon.com.) DIYers (or budget-watchers) can grab the Dibea 600W for just $60. (To buy: $60; amazon.com.)

#4: A Cozy Bathrobe

Adding a bathrobe to the list of things you need for your first apartment may seem indulgent, but it’s practically an essential if you live with roommates and have a shared bathroom. No one likes getting dressed immediately after a shower; with a nice robe, you can take your time, without risking an unfortunate flashing incident. This robe is comfortable enough that you’ll never want to take it off. (To buy: Parachute Waffle Robe, $120; parachutehome.com.)

#5: A Headboard

After college, a basic mattress frame (or worse—a mattress on the floor) isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need a headboard for your bed, even if it’s just to make it clear that an adult lives in your room. It can be a simple add-on, too—this on-trend upholstered headboard attaches to your existing bed frame and boosts the maturity factor of your space by 10. (To buy: Beachcrest Home Upholstered Wingback Headboard, $151; wayfair.com.)